- PTI claims delimitation schedule of ECP deviation from Constitution.
- Says delimitation a criminal attempt to prolong the caretaker govt.
- Insists people being deprived of right to vote due to PTI rising popularity.
Following the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to carry out new delimitation, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday rejected the idea and announced it would challenge the Council of Common Interest’s (CCI) decision to notify the new census in the Supreme Court.
In a statement, the party spokesperson alleged that the schedule for the delimitation issued by the ECP was “malicious and a clear deviation from the Constitution”.
The party added that if the National Assembly is dissolved before the completion of its tenure the Constitution clearly states that the ECP is bound to hold polls within 90 days.
“The Election Commission’s schedule is a criminal attempt to prolong the caretaker government contrary to what is written in the Constitution,” the party spokesperson said. It added that the poll organising authority after violating the Supreme Court’s order on elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is once again trying to “violate the Constitution”.
“In light of the decision of the Council of Common Interests, the formation of new constituencies cannot be used as a justification to escape election,” the former ruling party further said.
A “major irregularity”, it said, was committed in the CCI meeting when “illegal caretaker chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” attended the meeting.
The party also alleged that due to the PTI’s rising popularity, people were deprived of the right to vote.
Elections to be delayed as ECP announces delimitation schedule
Hours before the PTI statement was issued the ECP announced the schedule of new delimitations to be carried out as per the new census approved by the CCI earlier this month.
As per the schedule, the new delimitation of the constituencies across the country will be notified in December this year.
The ECP schedule showed that fresh delimitation will take nearly four months, meaning the general elections in the country cannot be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the provincial and national assemblies.
Earlier this month. the CCI meeting chaired by then prime minister Shehbaz Sharif approved the final results of the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023 reporting the country’s population at 241.49 million with a growth rate of 2.55%.
The CCI approval made it constitutionally mandatory for the for the ECP to hold elections following fresh delimitations in the light of the results of the 7th census.
According to Article 51 (5) of the Constitution, the seats of the National Assembly to each province and the federal capital shall be allocated on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government dissolved the national and provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan prematurely to allow the ECP to hold elections in the country within 90 days instead of 60 days if the legislature completed its constitutional tenure.
Former federal ministers including Rana Sanaullah said that elections in the country can be delayed until March next year owing to the delimitation of the constituencies.
SC moved against CCI decision
If the PTI files a plea in the top court then it would be the second such petition filed regarding the CCI decision.
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), earlier this week, filed a petition in the apex court seeking its orders for the ECP to announce a date for polls to the national and provincial assemblies as per Article 224(2) of the Constitution.
In its petition, the top lawyers’ body pleaded with the top court to suspend the August 5 decision of the CCI.
Raising questions over the decision made in the August 5 meeting of the CCI and SCBA said that the interim chief ministers were not eligible to sit in the meeting.
“The meeting of the Respondent No. 2 [CCI] took place on 05.08.2023, in the presence of the prime minister, the chief ministers of Sindh and Balochistan, the caretaker chief ministers of the Respondents No. 3 (Punjab) and 4 [KP] and other federal ministers,” read the petition.